Some Frequently Asked Questions on Electric Vehicles (EVs)
What are the benefits of an Electric Vehicle?
Electric Vehicle (EV) benefits include ...
cheaper to run
have lower repair costs compared to petrol or diesel vehicles
better for the environment
quieter and fun to drive
lower carbon impact across the vehicle lifetime
zero tailpipe emissions and pollutants
improved air quality and population health
Also check out Transport NSW...
What is the range of an EV?
Firstly, for everyday use treat your EV as you would your mobile phone - plug in your EV when you get home from your daily commute and let it charge overnight. The next morning you wake up to a fully charged EV.
Different EVs have differing battery capacities and efficiencies, so range will vary between models just like a petrol car. A couple quick examples... Nissan Leaf ≈250km, Hyundai Kona ≈400km and Tesla 300-500km or more.
Most EVs will have enough range for the typical daily commute. For the average person who drives 50, 75 or 100km each day, you simply top-up overnight at home.
Of course it's worth mentioning that, unlike many electronic devices, EVs tend to hold their charge over time with minimal drain.
What about extended travel, how do I recharge on road trips away from home?
More and more roadside fast chargers are being built. On road trips we already take regular breaks (think the RMS advice of Stop Revive Survive every two hours). Many rural EV chargers are alongside facilities and even at conventional petrol stations with toilets, restaurant etc. An EV fast charge will typically take between 15 and 40 minutes. Often there's no need to recharge completely, but rather charge enough for your destination or perhaps the next charge station.
State governments are now committing to providing enhanced charging networks. For example NSW co-investing in ultra-fast chargers at 100 km intervals across all major highways. See More Links and further reading below for other states.
In addition to roadside fast chargers, many business destinations such as shopping centres, hotels and motels offer charging facilities enabling a recharge while out and about, or staying away overnight. For a map of charging facilities, both fast chargers and destination chargers, check out https://www.plugshare.com/
Here is a list of some companies and their websites rolling out country roadside fast chargers...
Tesla Charge Network
Are EVs the future?
As the world grapples with climate change, it is widely accepted that the adoption of EVs is a necessary step to meet carbon neutral deadlines. In comparison to other countries Australia and our governments have been slow to develop policies promoting EV ownership. An increasing number of countries are mandating the ban of petrol and diesel cars. Vehicle manufacturers are already actively committing to phasing out petrol with electric.
Below is an extract from NRMA's website https://www.mynrma.com.au/cars-and-driving/electric-vehicles/faqs
What is the rest of the world doing?
A growing number of jurisdictions have announced plans to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars:
The UK will ban petrol, diesel and hybrid car sales by 2035.
France will ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Norway, which has the highest penetration of EVs in the world, will ban the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2025.
The Netherlands will ban petrol, diesel and hybrid car sales by 2030.
Israel will ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
More than 10 states in the USA will ban petrol and diesel sales between 2030 and 2040.
How long does it take to charge an EV?
The time to charge depends on the type of charger and the available power supply capacity. Ideally charging is done overnight while you sleep allowing you to start your day, everyday, with a full charge.
Charging at home works best with a dedicated EV wall charger. These are usually configurable to make use of available power capacity, either static or dynamic according the overall power consumption within the premises.
Some examples on how much range for every hour of charge...
EV wall charger at 7kW recovers ≈45km per hour of charge
EV wall charger at 11kW recovers ≈75km per hour of charge
a standard domestic powerpoint (≈ 2kW) ≈10km per hour of charge
a domestic 15A powerpoint (≈ 3kW) ≈15km per hour of charge
public fast charger (various capacities include 25kW, 50kW, 150kW and even 350kW) up to over 1000km per hour of charge (ie charge times are typically only a few minutes)
Even with a low capacity power source, an overnight charge will recover a typical daily commute with time to spare.
How much does it cost to run an EV?
The cost to recharge an EV will naturally vary between locations. Many businesses such as shopping centres and hotels offer complimentary charging facilities. There are a number of commercial EV charge networks, with varying fees (including NRMA which is currently free). Many EV owners living in a freestanding home with solar charge their EV direct from the sun for free.
However, to provide a cost comparison between petrol and charging an EV at home, consider the following for a Breakfast Point address...
Cost example for a standard petrol vehicle
Assume a fuel cost of $1.60 per litre and a vehicle with an average of 10 litres per 100km fuel consumption.
The petrol cost to travel 100km would be 10 litres x $1.60 = $16.00
Cost example of an EV
Assume an EV with an efficiency of 165 Wh/km (typical for Hyundai Kona EV or Tesla Model 3 etc).
Amount of electricity consumed for 100km of travel is 100km x 165Wh = 16.5kWh (kilowatt hours)
Cost of electricity at home (no frills plan for postcode 2137 with Energy Australia as at Sept 2021) is 24.2c per kWh.
The electricity cost to travel 100km would be 16.5kWh x $0.242 = $3.99
Why do we need to consider community charging in Breakfast Point?
While multiple charging solutions exist for individual buildings and strata, there are various challenges making the installation of a home charger difficult or impossible. The intent of a community charger is to provide a way forward, not just for current and potential EV residents, but also help maintain Breakfast Point as a premium community.
What about hydrogen cars?
Hydrogen powered vehicles are inherently inefficient compared to battery vehicles, in most part because the hydrogen fuel requires production with a storage and distribution model similar to petrol.
Steps required to refill a hydrogen vehicle...
Electricity is used to produce hydrogen from water by way of electrolysis.
The produced hydrogen is then compressed and liquified for bulk depot storage.
The hydrogen then requires transport from depot to hydrogen stations (think petrol stations).
A hydrogen vehicle then refills from a hydrogen station.
Steps required to recharge a battery vehicle...
Electricity is transported using existing infrastructure to a power outlet.
A battery EV then charges from a power outlet.
Hydrogen powered vehicles are inefficient with only 30% of the original electricity ultimately turning the wheels, compared to battery powered vehicles of around 76%. This means hydrogen cars would be much more expensive to run.
Most car manufacturers are moving to battery EVs while very few are considering hydrogen. There are no commercial hydrogen refilling stations in Australia, infrastructure to support hydrogen is practically non-existent. By contrast, battery EVs can potentially recharge anywhere there is electricity. Battery EVs are already on our roads and are growing in popularity.
Volkswagen have produced a report with their own findings in regards to hydrogen verses battery...
Finally, it's worth noting there is a reasonable argument that hydrogen could have potential in heavy transportation such as trucks, buses, shipping etc.
Do coal powered stations in Australia negate the environmental benefit of EVs?
The ultimate environmental benefit of EVs is realised when charging from renewable energy sources. Many public fast chargers such as those provided by NRMA and Chargefox are powered by 100% renewables. EV owners living in a home with solar can charge at home, not only for free, but without greenhouse emissions.
However even when charging an EV from electricity generated mostly by coal power stations, the CO2 output per km of travel in an EV is less than a petrol car, with conventional petrol cars being 12% to 30% efficient.
In 2019, 24% of Australia's annual electricity generation was powered by renewables (see Clean Energy Council). As Australia's power grid is generated by a greater portion of renewable energy, the EV benefits will keep on improving.
For more detail, check out...
What EVs are available for purchase in Australia?
Electric Vehicle Council list of EVs...
NRMA advise there are now 28 EV models for sale in Australia...
NRMA also provide an EV search tool ...
What about the environmental impact of EV batteries, life expectancy, recycling etc?
The answers can be long and complex. While the majority of manufacturers are moving to EVs, Tesla is the undisputed leader with electric vehicle technology. While some content is relevant to a USA audience, Tesla produce a detailed annual Environmental Impact Report which covers these questions and much more...